Hello everyone at Gamehag.com! This is yours truly, ranzacado. Maybe some of you have seen me lurking on the forums or commenting articles; I joined not long ago. Just like everyone else, I'm on a quest to get the most amount of SG so I can get rewards, and so after reviewing many articles I decided to write one of my own! For this first edition, I decided to talk about a game I really like and, although I have played 20 hours of it, I haven't yet acquired for myself (I share a copy with a friend via Steam) but I really want to. Some small details:
- Brief synopsis: It's a cooking / management simulator where you get your own restaurant, and will be given the task to bring it back to it's former glory atop the SherrySoda building! Slice and dice through a vast repertoir of dishes (and their many variations) while taking care of your precious restaurant. Every meal and task is it's own minigame! Make your customers happy and give the Cook, Serve, Delicious! restaurant the 5-star rating it deserves!
- Available platforms: PC, Mac, Mobile (iOS, Android)
- Price: $9.99 [Steam] - $4.93 [GOG]
So, without further ado, let's get into it!
[The title "Ranzacking review" is a work in progress. I'm open to suggestions to make it an original experience!]
[DISCLAIMER: the pictures used are not owned nor created by me. Rights go to their respective authors.]
Developed by Vertigo Gaming and released on October 2013, "Cook, Serve, Delicious!" is a game wonderfully crafted using YoYo Games' Game Maker Studio. As you may have guessed by now (if not, the title gives it away), it's a game about cooking. Not the crazy kind of cooking like Overcooked or an easy experience like Cooking Mama: it calls itself a "hardcore restaurant sim, one of the few in it's genre". And soon enough after starting you'll see why it earns the title of "hardcore".
Gameplay:We'll start on the management side: before it starts, you can select the foods you'll be serving throughout the day and manage the "buzz" (restaurant's popularity) on a given day, depending on certain details regarding your plates (I'll get onto that in a bit). Also, on the right hand of the screen you have your e-mail feed: you'll receive e-mails every day whether it's spam, customers thanking for the food, next day's weather, cash bonuses, some pretty good jokes, etc. You can also upgrade both your available foods and some types of equipment for the restaurant. While the former will give you more cash and variations for each dish, the latter will help you on various tasks that appear during the day. These go from taking out the trash to flushing the toilet, and even reporting robberies! The upgrades will decrease the amount of times you have to do a task during work day.
Let's go back to the dishes: each dish has it's own unique traits that, when combined correctly, will either increase or decrease your daily buzz. Remember when I told you about the weather? Some dishes get a bonus when it's raining, or depending on the hour of the day. Other examples for traits are:
- Staple foods: Usually, customers start to dislike a dish after it's been served for 3 days in a row. When that happens, you should change your dish ASAP. That is, if it's not a staple food: staple foods are always fresh, so you don't need to change them like the others. Some examples are Salads, Soup and Coffee. Each one has it's bonuses, combine them to get the most amount of buzz!
- Greasy foods: Sometimes, having more than three greasy foods on the menu will bring your buzz down. The disadvantage of this is... most foods in the game are greasy foods, but still you can make some combinations and have a pretty equilibrated menu! A few greasy foods I can name are Lasagna, Burgers and French Fries.
Additionally, after acquiring an upgrade you can select the daily special: this dish will be ordered by majority, so make sure it doesn't have the "Difficult" trait (unless you know what you're doing!).
Now, we'll go on to the kitchen gameplay!
When you're on the kitchen, you have to attend to both your customers and your establishment needs, which appear on the cooking stations on the left side of the screen (you can have up to 8 stations). Customers will order the food you selected prior and wait to be attended. This one's a usual for cooking games: if you take too much to take care of a customer, they'll angrily leave the establishment (giving you a decrease in buzz for the next day). By contrast, if you manage to serve every order perfectly and do every task, you'll receive a bonus! Also, as said previously, some traits will affect whether a dish will be ordered given a certain time of the day.
To prepare a dish, you'll have to follow the recipe on the lower part of the screen: that will tell you what to put on the dish, or what's the procedure to prepare it. You'll unlock more ingredients, and more recipes, with every level upgrade on the dish.
[ranzacado says: I think you could make these dishes in real life but I don't really know, I want to try it one day. ]
Usually, customers will come and go really fast while you're juggling orders and tasks, maybe it doesn't even appear THAT hard, That is, until you reach either 12pm or 6pm: RUSH HOUR! People will order and lose patience almost 3 times faster than normally, so you'll have to act fast but carefully: you don't wanna mix up the ingredients, do you? Also, sometimes getting tasks during Rush Hour can get pretty tedious, but still, it adds to the fast-paced action the game promises.
Speaking of tasks, I haven't explain them properly yet right? Well, during the cooking and the serving, you'll have to manage to do some chores during the day. Tasks work the same as orders: you'll have a short period before the task expires. Additionally, as I mentioned earlier, every week the Health Inspector will swing by your restaurant. This will make tasks expire more quickly, so you gotta do those chores quickly!
The game also features some secondary gamemodes like cattering services, the Iron Cook challenges and more! Sadly, I've only done the cattering challenges so I'll have to play more to find out! Also, the game has local co-op multiplayer: you can either challenge your friends to see who's the better cook, or work alongside them in your restaurant!
Controls:Most of the management aspect of the game is done in a menu-like fashion: you just select items and done. On the cooking side, on the other hand, every ingredient for every dish has it's own hotkey. By default, the game is played on Mouse & Keyboard in a way that every ingredient has a hotkey assigned to it. You can either click it or press the corresponding key to do the corresponding action. Using the keys is obviously faster than click all over the place, but you'll need to type really fast at moments (which is hilarious, by the way). Hotkeys tend to be the first letter of the ingredient, although with some dishes that can get confusing (some ingredients start with the same letter). Still, don't you worry! You can customize each hotkey for each dish however you like!
Moreover, you can hook up a controller (PS3, PS4, XB360, XBOne, WiiU & Steam); whichever suits your playstyle. For controllers, the hotkeys switch to button presses and analog stick movements. On the downside, hotkeys can't be customizable when using controllers, so you gotta get used to the button combinations and stick motions (although it's rather easier in controller than on keyboard; I've played with both keyboard and PS3 controller).
Graphics & Music:The game features handsomely drawn 2D sprites and backgrounds with a cartoon-ish but yet kinda realist style, made by artist Sarah Gross. It's fun to see how the customers "evolve" throughout your career's progress: from sweaty, bearded truckers to the most refined people you can imagine. And I gotta admit: this game gets me hungry sometimes.
The music (composed by Jonathan Geer) is pretty spot on, too! The menu background music never old, and the different themes you hear on the kitchen bring the game alive along with the little voice snippets. Some music styles I can think of right now are Chiptune, Jazz and Salsa, but they are so varied that I can't get tired of listening to them! My personal favorite is "Gameplay 12" (the chiptune one).
Heres a link to Jonathan Geer's bandcamp, with the whole game OST: https://jonathangeer.bandcamp.com/album/cook-serve-delicious
Personal Thoughts:It's fast-paced gameplay along with the menu customization and the different dish traits you have to take into account make almost every in-game day "unique" in a way. Also, the wide variety of ways to play the game is insane; it really makes you feel like you have total control over how you wanna play the game. The art department did an amazing job also. And it even baffles me that I have so much more to play on this game even though I have 3 out of 5 stars!
Cook, Serve, Delicious! is truly a masterpiece, at least for me, so if you're eager to try it, go ahead: it won't disappoint you!
Here's the steam page for the game so you can check it out: https://store.steampowered.com/app/247020/Cook_Serve_Delicious/
The game also has a sequel! If you like this one, you can check Cook, Serve, Delicious 2!! if you like!
This has been ranzacado and I hope you've enjoyed my review! Tell me what you think about this game in the comments and well... See you on the next article!